On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced California churches will be allowed to reopen. Good thing he caved as 1,200 churches declared they wouldn’t comply with a prolonged shutdown and 3,000 churches said they’d open on May 31st – Pentecost Sunday – no matter what.
Make no mistake though, this comes with some pretty useless limitations. Houses of worship, as per Gavin, must be at a 25% capacity or maximum 100 people per service. Whichever is lower. He tweeted the following: “NEW: Counties can now begin reopening houses of worship and in-store shopping for retail. CA has continued to flatten the curve because folks are staying home, practicing physical distancing, and taking this seriously. Let’s keep it up. LEARN MORE:” A link is attached in the tweet for a resilience roadmap in California’s businesses opening up safely, also noting that California is in Phase Two. Good thing Gavin has changed plans since, prior to this announcement, churches weren’t supposed to open until Phase Four. Sure, this is good news for churchgoers but still…25%? 100 people? Hopefully you’re one of the lucky few allowed in if you’re headed to Sunday service or you’ll be turned away.
Not everyone is too happy over this announcement. Supervisors have noted the restrictions are going too far, discouraging singing and gathering for holidays. Supervisor Don Wagner heavily criticized the guidelines. “Can you imagine having told George Washington or John Adams or Patrick Henry or Ben Franklin that your First Amendment right to worship and your First Amendment right to protest can be limited by the government if we think there’s maybe just too many of you? You would’ve taken your life in your hands making that claim to George Washington,” Wagner said.
Many others have noted that the houses of worship are quite large. Restricting services to 100 people would require an unmanageable number of services to minister to all of their members. 100 doesn’t even include 2% of some congregations. Given that every church is a different size, how can Gavin put a maximum number on it? Talk about nonsensical, arbitrary, and ridiculous.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes spoke out on the matter. “My department is being put in the middle of some strife that occurs throughout the community – in positions that are not consistent with the First Amendment. We are not the mask police, nor do I intend to be the mask police.”
Throughout all of this, cannabis dispensaries remain open and the “stay at home” order is still in place. Churning up idiotic ideas, the “100-max people” guideline tops the cake. Let’s be real for a second though. Newsom is only opening up churches to shut down the lawsuits claiming he was shutting down churches. He’s continually creating illegal laws, then backs down when the lawsuits are to be heard.
California, you’ve recalled one governor. It’s time to do it again.